Spuds MacKenzie

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Spuds MacKenzie in an ad.

Spuds MacKenzie is a fictional dog (bull terrier) character used for an extensive advertising campaign marketing Bud Light beer in the late 1980s. The Spuds MacKenzie mascot and campaign was the idea of a 23-year-old art director, Jon Moore. At the time, he was working at Needham, Harper, and Steers, a Chicago advertising agency. The dog first showed up in a Bud Light Super Bowl XXI ad in 1987.[1]

The dog was portrayed by a female bull terrier named Honey Tree Evil Eye,[2] or Evie for short (October 7, 1983 – May 31, 1993). Evie was from Woodstock, Illinois, and lived in North Riverside, Illinois, with her owner's family, where she later died of kidney failure in 1993.[3][4] Anheuser-Busch sponsored many dogs from the kennel in Illinois where Evie was from.[5]

The Spuds McKenzie ad campaign was not without its share of controversy. Shortly after Spuds' rise to fame, it was learned that the dog, portrayed as male in the ads, was actually female.[5] The ads were also the subject of attacks and calls for censorship by temperance-oriented groups. Soon after the ads first aired in 1987, Senator Strom Thurmond began his own media campaign, claiming that the beer maker was using Spuds to appeal to children in order to get them interested in their product at an early age.[6] By Christmas 1987, more legal action resulted from Budweiser's use of ads featuring Spuds dressed as Santa, which is illegal in states such as Ohio.[7]

In 1989, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, along with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, alleged that Anheuser-Busch was pitching the dog to children. Although the Federal Trade Commission found no evidence to support that allegation, Anheuser-Busch decided to retire Spuds in 1989, claiming that the character's image had started to overshadow the product.

In 2017, the character appeared in Bud Light's Super Bowl LI advertisement as a ghost who helps a man named Brian reunite with his friends, in an homage to Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. The house number in this advertisement's last segment is 1989, the year Spuds was retired.[8]

Cultural references[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Spuds McKenzie: Official Party Animal". Bull Terrier Club of Dallas. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
  2. ^ Beachamp, Rick (27 October 2011). "Dog and Kennel Magazine". Archived from the original on 27 October 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Honey Tree "Spuds" Mackenzie". Find a Grave.
  4. ^ "Spuds MacKenzie is dead". UPI. Retrieved 2020-06-02.
  5. ^ a b Eric Zorn (1987-09-13). "Spuds Is a Dud as a Party Guy - He's a Girl". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2020-06-26.
  6. ^ "Teetotaler Thurmond Raps Spuds McKenzie". Associated Press. 13 November 1987. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  7. ^ "Spuds Can't Promote Beer Dressed as Santa". Associated Press. 2 December 1987. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  8. ^ Taylor, Kate (February 2, 2017). "Bud Light is bringing back a controversial mascot who once helped sales soar 20%". Business Insider.
  9. ^ Rabin, Nathan. "Sir Mix-A-Lot Interview". AV Club. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  10. ^ "The Golden Girls (1985) s03e21 Episode Script". Springfield! Springfield!. Retrieved 25 September 2016.